An Oral History of Sex Survivor (Penthouse)
Sex Survivor sounded too crazy to be true: 30 porn stars in a Hollywood mansion, competing in ridiculous sex contests with names like “Blind Man’s Muff” and “Musical Blowjobs” to be the last person lying on their back.
The house was rigged with cameras that live-streamed all the filthy action to an online audience who’d paid $70 for the ability to tune in whenever they wanted, and vote out the actors one by one. The show’s tagline: “Screw the most, suck the most, lick the most, to survive.”
This was the year 2000, and people were still using Nokia phones and Internet Explorer; the idea of a 24/7 live-stream porn reality show was so outlandish that it instantly became a media phenomenon, covered feverishly in mainstream magazines like Wired. At the time, reality TV was just starting to take off with the first season of Survivor—and everyone knows that nothing is truly successful until there’s a porn knockoff.
Then, just as dramatically as it had come together, it all fell apart. The cameras stopped working, checks started bouncing, and the cast was caught fucking the crew. After the director ran off with the prize money, most of the footage disappeared, too. Although some of it later resurfaced on Playboy TV, it is now almost impossible to watch any scenes from the show.
Nearly two decades after Sex Survivor’s catastrophic demise, we tracked down its stars to find out what really went down, both in front of and behind the cameras.